Whether you have come aboard for an afternoon visit or for a four-year hitch, you are probably very interested in the what, when, and where of the USS Mansfield. With a short tour and a little exercise of the imagination you can turn the next half-hour into an enlightening experience and as adventure into history.
Start in the 'midships passageway and you start at the beginning of the Mansfield story. Read the bronze plaque on the after bulkhead:
U.S.S. MANSFIELD (DD-728)
NAMED IN HONOR OF SERGEANT DUNCAN MANSFIELD, U.S. MARINE CORPS (DECEASED), WHO VOLUNTEERED AND TOOK PART IN THE EXPEDITION UNDER LIEUTENANT STEPHAN DECATUR, JR, U.S. NAVY COMMANDING THE U.S. KETCH "INTREPID" WHICH ENTERED TRIPOLI HARBOR ON 16 FEBRUARY 1804, AND DESTROYED THE FORMER U.S. FRIGATE "PHILADELPHIA", WHICH HAD BEEN CAPTURED.
KEEL LAID - 28 AUGUST 1943 AT BATH IRON WORKS, BATH, MAINE.
LAUNCHED - 29 JANUARY 1944.
COMMISSIONED - 14 APRIL 1944 AT BOSTON NAVY YARD, BOSTON, MASS.
CDR. ROBERT E. BRADDY JR, USN - 14 APR. 1944 TO 1 FEB. 1945
THANKS TO HTC RON REEVES DD-847/DD-822 FOR THE ADDITIONAL NAMES
KENNETH G. WELL - 1963 TO 1964
RICHARD C. MARSHALL, 1964 TO 4 SEP. 1965
CDR. DONALD P. NELLIS, USN - 4 SEP. 1965 TO FEB. 1967
CDR. JACK R. GRIFFIN, USN - FEB. 1967 TO 3 FEB. 1969. From CDR Griffin (4/24/00): "Actually, there was another commanding officer between Don Nellis and myself. Dick Blaes, the XO, assumed command for a two to three week period due to the serious illness of Don (Nellis). Don almost died due to Parrot Fever as I recall. I was actually enroute to take command of the Alfred A. Cunningham. I was sitting in the Flag Mess of the USS Bennington at anchor in Hong Kong, when I received a message from COMCRUDESPAC stating, 'Have discussed change of orders with Mrs. Griffin and she is happy to move to Yokosuka with your six children.' It took a couple of hours for me to find out what that was all about. Anyhow, I flew out of Hong Kong that day and relieved LCDR Blaes in time for my first trip to the Gulf of Tonkin as a CO of a destroyer. When we returned, my family was there on pier 9."
PAUL L. ANDERSON - 3 FEB. 1969 - SEP. 1970
Immediately after her shake-down cruise off the East Coast, Mansfield joined the Pacific Fleet for the great naval offensive which was to strike Imperial Japan to her knees. But her first engagement was to be with another worthy foe.
As you step forward along the main deck, starboard side, stop for a moment to look back over the deckhouse and superstructure. Picture, if you can, the insignificance of a destroyer in the jaws of a raging sea. On the evening of 17 December 1944, without power and light, with superstructure wrenched and torn, and her after stack lost over the side, Mansfield was still afloat after one of the most disastrous storms in the history of the U.S. Navy. On that December morning while steaming with Admiral Halsey's 3rd Fleet enroute for a strike against enemy held Luzon, Mansfield and other fleet units were struck by a devastating typhoon. Winds shrieked at 93 knots; gigantic mountains of water thundered over the harassed ships. The typhoon flailed her victims with all nature's malevolent forces for three days, and when the howl of the winds finally died, the 3rd Fleet counted a toll of 790 men, 200 planes, and 3 destroyers lost. Mansfield was indeed fortunate to have survived the storm.
Move forward now along the main deck and pass through the spray shield onto the forecastle. Here you see two of the three twin 5" 38-calibre gun mounts which are the ship's major armament, second in importance only to the anti-submarine warfare weapons. Before her conversion, the orange flames and ringing blasts spit from Mansfield's 5" guns signalled the violent destruction of enemy shipping, aircraft and shore defenses.
On the morning of 13 September, 1950, leading five other destroyers, including the Collett, DeHaven and Swenson of Destroyer Division 91, Mansfield steamed past the heavily fortified island of Wolmi-Do, through the Flying Fish Channel, and into Inchon Harbor - Communist North Korean held territory.
U.N. forces were about to launch the great Inchon landing assault that was to open the second front in Korea and provide a pincer force on the peninsula. Enemy forces were know to be well dug-in, but intelligence could not accurately locate the seaward facing gun emplacements. The emplacements had to be neutralized before a successful landing could be made.
In broad daylight Destroyer Division 91 brazenly anchored in the harbor and dared the shore batteries to fire. The affront was soon answered and as the Communist guns revealed themselves, destroyer 5" shells followed the tell-tale flashes and smoke puffs to knock out, one after another, the opposing batteries.
On the following day the division returned again to bait the enemy and destroy his defenses. Then on the 15th, Mansfield led the entire invasion fleet in for the successful landing and subsequent drive to the Yalu River.
For this action Destroyer Division 91 was presented the Navy Unit Commendation and, unofficially, became know as the "Sitting Duck Division." Mansfield's Captain, Commander Headland, was cited with the Silver Star, and six other officers and men received the Bronze Star and commendation ribbon with the combat "V".
Now walk to the port side of Mount 51 on the main deck and look for the figure "30" in raised welded bead in the waterway along the side of the ship. this figure marks the location of frame 30, one of the transverse structural members of the ship's hull. from that frame forward Mansfield's bow is a borrowed one, welded on after the original was reduced to twisted, mangled scrap in September 1950.
On the 26th of September, Mansfield in company with the USS Swenson departed Sasebo, Japan, to carry out night interdiction fire against coastal highway traffic near the 38th parallel. for three nights Mansfield and Swenson steamed along the darkened coast blasting truck convoys and blockading the major coastal highway so necessary to the North Korean withdrawal.
About 1230 on the fateful 30th, an urgent dispatch directed the ships to proceed at best possible speed to latitude 38° 45' North, longitude 128° 15' East to assist a B-26 aircraft reported down at that point. At 1500, with Swenson lying to outside the 50-fathom curve to cover the approach, and a B-17 search-and-rescue plane overhead, Mansfield began to edge into the area of the reported wreckage. As the ship slowly closed the area machine gun and rifle fire arced toward the B-17 from installations on Tie To Island, 500 yards to the west. the ship stopped as lookouts combed the area for indications of the downed plane.
Suddenly, with an ear-splitting blast, a high order explosion ripped the drifting ship as a geyser of water spewed up on the port side to the height of the gun director above the bridge. the ship had struck a mine. While repair parties rushed to the scene, the Captain backed engines full and maneuvered the ship stern first through the waters through which she had entered. Fast, sure work by the repair parties stopped the flooding and shored the crumbled bulkheads and decks before the damage to the ship was out of control.
When final muster results were reported Mansfield had suffered 27 wounded, but had lost no except the ship's dog, "Pohang," who was not found after the explosion. For their heroic work in saving the ship, six of the ship's officers and men received medals ranging from the Silver Star and the Navy and Marine corps medal to the Bronze Star. Perhaps it is only a sailor's superstition, but the ship has never since had a mascot.
Walk aft now past the ship's bell, used to announce the hours of the watch, and along the deckhouse through the port side spray shield door. Step through the first door to your left and climb the inclined ladder in the passageway to the 01 deck (first deck above the main or 1st deck). A few more steps aft, then climb again to the 02 deck and take the first door opening to your left.
You are now in CIC (Combat Information Center). As your eyes grow accustomed to the dark-necessary to allow the radar operations to see the phosphorescent display on their scopes-look about you at the status boards, radar consoles and repeaters, radio telephones and other information gathering and display equipment. CIC is the nerve center of the ship. All the information gained from the ship's many, advanced, radar search, communications, navigational, electronic countermeasures, and attack systems is collected, displayed and evaluated here. recommendations based on the strategic and tactical situation unfolding are passed to the bridge for action by the Commanding Officer.
Aft on the starboard side is the entrance to Sonar Control. "Sonar," derived from the words "sound navigation and ranging," is an underwater search system which operates on the principle that a sound beam traveling out under water will bounce back or "echo" when it strikes an object in the water.
The complex instruments you see around you do no more than translate that echo into ranges and bearings, courses and speeds of underwater contacts. This is Mansfield's primary anti-submarine search system. Watch the "stack" for a moment if it is operating. See and hear the sound wave as it radiates outward, then listen for the ping of a contact as it shows on the "stack" as a bright pip.
Leave Sonar Control by the starboard door to the weather decks, and walk forward to the Pilot House and Open bridge. Before you step into the Pilot House, look up at the mast where, very likely, you will see the radar antennas rotating, transmitting and receiving the signals you saw displayed on the scopes in CIC.
The Pilot House and Open Bridge are the Captain's command directions post. It is here that the final battle decisions are mane and the final orders given. Mansfield's Captains stood on this bridge through every major Pacific campaign from the World War II invasion of Leyte through the concluding assault on Japan and limited war in Korea. Look down from the bridge now where Mansfield officers and men guided the Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns, shooting down four fanatic ally attacking planes, rescuing six downed aviators and destroying 13 murderous mines; incredibly coming out unscathed while the fleet suffered carnage unparalleled in naval history. Stand on the bridge wings where Captain Smythe in July 1945 directed a high speed raid on Japanese merchant shipping off the coast of Japan-sinking two freighters and damaging two more. Fell the excitement and tension in the air when Mansfield in company with the USS Blue captured the Japanese submarine I-400 during the final phases of the Pacific war. Sense the forebodings of the cold war as officers and men watched from the Mansfield's Formosa convoy escort position some 55,000 Communist Chinese shells poured into the Islands of Quemoy and Matsu during 24-hour period in September 1958.
Before you leave the Pilot House, take a turn at the wheel and examine the engine order telegraph by means of which the Officer of the Deck's orders are relayed to the enginrooms in the bowels of the ship. Notice the number of telephones necessary to communicate with control centers throughout the ship and with other ships and aircraft.
Now step past the Navigator's chart desk out through the port Pilot House door onto the Bridge and walk aft and down the inclined ladder by the forward stack to the Torpedo Deck. the torpedo tubes angled menacingly outward and stacked in triple mounts project the ship's deadly anti-submarine homing torpedoes into the water, where, using their own sonar, they unerringly seek out and destroy the killer lurking below.
Abaft the after stack are the Torpedo Stowage and the Drone Hangar. Go past the ship's boat on the port side through the door into the Hangar.
In the Drone Hangar and on the Flight Deck aft of the DASH drone is serviced and launched as a vital part of the ship's anti-submarine weapons system. DASH, Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter, is an unmanned , remote-controlled helo capable of carrying homing torpedoes to submarine contact areas will outside the ship's danger perimeter. Controlled from a "black box" in Sonar Control, DASH extends the ship's offensive capability far beyond previous systems with correspondingly less danger from counter torpedo attacks.
From the Flight Deck double back through the Hangar and across the Torpedo Deck to the door below the port inclined ladder to the 02 deck (the ladder you previously descended). walk forward through the passageway until you come to the door on your left leading out to the weather decks. Step outside and descend the inclined ladder to the main deck, then turn forward and once again enter the deckhouse through the door just aft of the spray shield (as you did when on your way to CIC). this time walk aft in the passageway past the inclined ladder up, and , instead, take the ladder below it down to the Messdecks.
The two Hedgehog projectors are installed on this deck to provide optimum conditions for close-in attack. Hedgehogs are anti-submarine "ahead-thrown-weapons" which are fired in circular patterns several hundred yards ahead of the ship by the two projectors on either side of the deckhouse. As the charges sink through the water they are exploded by contact with the submarine. It takes only one! Walk around the deck past 5"/38-calibre Mound 52. Note the practice hedgehogs used for loading practice, alike in every way except warhead to the actual charges, leave the 01 deck by way of the inclined ladder on the port side and walk aft along the main deck past the deck-mounted boat winch and under the ship's boat.
All the way aft, on the fantail, is located the ship's latest equipment installation: the VDS of Variable Depth Sonar, developed to spy into the naturally occurring refuge of the submarine. The ocean is crossed by innumerable subsurface currents which cause varying temperature water layers to be formed at unpredictable depths. Because sound travels at different speeds through water at different temperatures, a sonar sound beam may be refracted or "bent" in a entirely different direction as it passes through the "layer,", thus completely missing the submarine hiding just below. VDS puts the searching back on the sub. The sound transmitter, you see, is lowered hundreds of feet beneath the ship to a depth below the thermal layer. The display projected by this undistorted sound beam is reproduced in Sonar Control with resulting vastly increased accuracy and effectiveness in anti-submarine warfare capability.
You have just completed a brief tour of the ship which we hope has given you a picture of the Mansfield in action. She is a "fast ship" which has gone in "harm's way" often and emerged victorious and distinguished.
Mansfield's past is a matter of record. You can read it in her service ribbons mounted below the bridge. From left to right, top to bottom:
Mansfield's future is the future of the officers and men aboard her. She has established her worth in the past and stands ready to prove herself anew should the occasion arise. We hope that this short tour has been able to impart to you a little of her fine traditions as well as a better understanding of her capabilities as a man-of-war and a member of our defense team.
As you leave the fantail where our National Ensign proudly flies in port we hope that you will share with us the pride we feel in serving aboard a worth representative of the undisputedly most powerful Navy of all time-dedicated to guarding and preserving the freedom of free nations all over the world.
|UNIT AWARDS AND CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION|
|AWARD||START DATE||END DATE||REMARKS|
|AE - ARMED FORCES EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL||30-AUG-1958||H: Taiwan Straits (23 Aug 50 - 1 Jun 63)|
|AE||29-SEP-1959||30-0CT-1959||G: Quemcy-Matsu (23 Jul 58 - 1 Jun 63)|
|AE||25-JAN-1962||26-JAN-1962||I: Vietnam (1 Jul 58 - 3 Jul 65)|
|AE||30-OCT-1969||J: Korea (1 Oct 66 - Jun 74)|
|CR - COMBAT ACTION RIBBON||25-OCT-1966|
|NU - NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION||13-SEP-1950||15-SEP-1950|
|RG - REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM MERITORIOUS UNIT CITATION
(Gallantry Cross Medal Color with Palm)
|VS - VIETNAM SERVICE MEDAL||10-SEP-1965||03-OCT-1965|
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